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Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand on May 1, 2008 11:03:34 PM

In my last blog I talked about what it takes to do a 24 Hour mountain bike race.I received several great comments with lots of useful advice. Thanks! What makes a 24 Hour race so special are the stories of the experiences you have out there pushing your bike and body to limits you never thought you were possible.  Here is a story from my first 24 Hour race.

 

I had never ridden my mountain bike at night so my first 'night lap' was going to be a completely new experience. When I rolled out of the start/finish area I knew nothing about battery conservation so I had both my 12W and 20W halogen bulbs burning. I looked like a super nova blazing down the trail. I am almost certain I could be seen from the space shuttle in earth orbit.  It never occurred to me that my battery would not last the entire 55-minute lap. Hey these things are supposed to be high-tec. Right?

 

Well, half way through the lap, the laws of physics caught up with me and my lights died just as I exited the last technical section and started up the long fire road climb back to the start/finish.  There was just enough ambient light for me to see the road and I limped into the exchange area feeling pretty stupid.  That's not much of a story, but wait, there's more.

 

When I headed out on my second night lap, I was in full conservation mode and rode with only my 12W bulb.  The problem was that my light seemed to keep moving up off the trail.  I kept pounding on the mounting bracket trying to get the light to point down on the trail when I realized it was my handlebars that were rotating and not the light mounting bracket.  Well, who wouldn't immediately realize that at 3am in the morning?

 

To make matters worse, even with only the 12W bulb, my battery ran out again, this time in the middle of the most technical section and not just after it.  In the dark I struggled with the single track, got back on the fire road and thought I had it made when, just before the finish, a huge metal pole jumped right out in front of me.  I narrowly avoided it and brought in another lap for the team. I was one happy camper when the sun came up.

 

Do you all have a favorite 24 Hour race story or two?  Let's here them.

 

Bruce

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